Citrus fruits are the highest value fruit crop in terms of international trade. There are two main markets for citrus fruit: the fresh fruit market, and the processed citrus fruits market (mainly orange juice). Most citrus production is accounted for by oranges, but significant quantities of grapefruits, lemons and limes are also grown.
World annual production of all types of citrus fruit currently stands at over 110 million tonnes, covering an area of nearly 18.7 million acres. Oranges contribute significantly to the bulk of world’s citrus fruit production accounting for more than 50% of the global citrus production, while tangerines, mandarins, and clementine contribute around 23%. Around 13.7 million tonnes of lemon and limes and 4.4 million tonnes of grapefruit are also produced.
Brazil, China, USA, Mexico, Spain, Egypt, Italy, and Turkey produce the most oranges in the world. Together, Brazil and the USA account for more than 90% of the world’s production of orange juice. In the Mediterranean region, around 22 million tonnes of citrus is produced, mainly for fresh fruit consumption. Spain, Egypt, Italy, Turkey and Greece are the leading producers. Egypt is the sixth largest producer and the first exporter of oranges in the world after Brazil, China, USA, the EU, and Mexico.
Oranges are the largest citrus variety cultivated, as farmers prefer to grow oranges over other fruits due to its high export demand and value. With well-established supply chains small farmers are able to capitalize on the export market by selling their crop to bigger farmers and exporters.
4.1.2 Egypt Citrus Plantation
Egypt’s Oranges total planted area during the year 2016/17 has increased to 146.950 hectares (ha) compared to 139,950 hectares in 2015/16. During the last four years the oranges planted has witnessed 5% increase annually. The increase in planted area is attributed to the increasing demand for Egyptian oranges in international markets and joint government and private sector successful efforts in opening new markets, mainly in Africa and South Asia.
The harvested area has also increased in 2016/17 to 136,475 hectares compared to 133,200 hectares during the year 2014/15. The increase is due to improved weather conditions during the growing season and the increase of new fruit bearing trees. The increased harvesting area has subsequently raised the crop production and export.
4.1.3 Egypt Citrus Production
Citrus is the largest crop produced in Egypt with around 520,000 acres total cultivated area. Its total annual Production is around 3.8 million tonnes, from which around 1.3 million tonnes are exported. Citrus production has increased the last twenty years (around 50% increase) due to the expansion in the reclaimed desert areas. The peak production for these new reclaimed areas is expected to reach its maximum by the year 2020 with 8 million tonnes approximately produced quantity.
The Egyptian citrus production flourishes especially in the Nile Delta governorates, such as Qalyoubia, Beheira, Sharqiya, Ismailia and Menufia, where water and fertile grounds are available. In addition to the Delta, there is a large concentration of citrus production in the recent land reclamation areas, which are mostly located on the western side of the delta. Modern, large-scale farms produce solely for export.
Oranges account for 30 % of total fruit output and 65 % of citrus production. Orange is grown in almost all of Egypt’s governorates. However, the Delta governorates of are the main producing areas. Delta area is the most fertile region while navel oranges account for more than a half of all produced crop in the country. The current average yield is 4.2 MT/HA while in farms with greater technification the average yield may reach 7.5-8.5 MT/HA.
In MY2015/16, total orange production increased to 2.75 million metric tonnes (MMT), a 4.5 % or 120,000 MT increase compared to 2.63 MMT in the previous year. It is also projected to increase to 3 MMT during 2016/2017. The increase in production is attributed to the increase in the total area harvested due to improved weather conditions, as well as an increase in the number of new fruit bearing trees. Total bearing trees increased by 180,000 to reach 10.2 million trees compared to 9.250 million trees in the previous season.
Several Orange varieties are produced in Egypt. There are six dominant varieties: Baladi, Valencia, blood, Navel, Khalily, Sweet Orange (Sukkari). Navel oranges are the predominant variety, representing 60 % of all orange production. For export, Navel and Valencia are the main varieties which comprise around 94% from the Egyptian citrus exported varieties. Other varieties like tangerines (Mandarin, Clementine) are also exported.